Diversifying teaching staff requires focus, homegrown strategies
- Three school districts share their strategies for attracting a diverse teacher pool in this District Administration article, including Meridan Public Schools in Connecticut, which practices “on-the-spot” hiring of minority candidates and created a teacher developer program and a support program designed to give potential teachers of color experience in the classroom.
- Highline School District in Washington created a workforce development team two years ago which was tasked with the responsibility of recruiting and retaining teachers of color, and a state grant is helping the district provide bilingual tutors with tuition assistance to pursue a teaching degree.
- McKinney Independent School District in Texas created a committee designed to encourage principals to hire more minority candidates; administrators of color also go on recruiting trips and minority teachers are featured in a video promoting the district.
While the percentage of minority students is increasing in the U.S., the percentage of minority teachers is not, and in some cases, the numbers are shrinking. However, an increase in the number of minority teachers is needed. Minority students connect better with teachers who share their life experiences and need them as role models for success in life.
A 2014 report released by the National Education Association, “Time for a Change: Diversity in Teaching Revisited,” revealed that “the disparity between minority student enrollment and teachers of color continues to be a major stumbling block on the path towards greater academic performance for all students.” That is because minority teachers often set higher expectations for achievement from minority students than white teachers. Suspensions among minority students also decrease when they have a teacher of color.
However, recruiting minority teachers is easier said than done. The process needs to start early, by attracting minority students to the field of education, a situation which is made easier when they see role models in the classroom. Also, strategies for helping with education costs and with obtaining teaching licenses can help as well. School leaders need to examine these approaches to see what works for them.
- District Administration Strategies for building a diverse school district